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Why the SoftBank Vision Fund is getting into SPAC-ing

October 13, 2020, 2:30 PM UTC

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SoftBank Vision Fund is hopping on 2020’s hottest trend: the special purpose acquisition company. 

On Monday, SoftBank Vision Fund head Rajeev Misra revealed that the mega-fund, after a rocky 2019, is preparing to debut a SPAC in the next two weeks or so, allowing public investors to bet on SoftBank’s money managers and their chops. 

While Misra was scant on the details of the SPAC itself, including how much the blank check company was seeking to raise, he did openly state his thinking on raising one.

“Why take money from us when you can get better valuations from the public market, with no strings attached?” Misra said at the Milken Institute Global Conference. 

Public markets have been on a tear recently, erasing many losses suffered in the early days of the pandemic as low-bond yields have investors chomping at the bit for returns. Perhaps best capturing the sentiment is a tweet from banker Carl Chiou, joking about Twilio’s $3.2 billion acquisition by Segment: “Damnit, I could have SPAC-ed them for at least $6 billion.”

SoftBank is no stranger to the SPAC trend. SoftBank-backed private equity shop Fortress filed for two IPOs that have raised $300 million each this year, while Vision Fund portfolio company Opendoor is slated to go public via merger with Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital Hedosophia II in a $4.8 billion deal.

SPEAKING OF ROBUST PUBLIC MARKETS: Hardest hit in the first half of the year, exit activity among venture capital-backed startups jumped to $103.9 billion across 185 companies in the third quarter, according to a PitchBook/NVCA analysis. The numbers represent a rise of about 292.5% and 7.6% respectively compared to the previous quarter—which means bigger exits by deal size in general. The surge was led by the multibillion IPOs of companies such as Snowflake, Palantir, Asana and Unity. Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


- N26, a Berlin-based fintech, is weighing another round of fundraising that  would value it north of $3.5 billion next year, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Kahoot! AS, an Oslo, Norway-based education startup, raised about $215 million from SoftBank Group. 

- EdiGene, a Beijing-based developer of genome editing technologies, raised about $67 million in Series B funding. 3H Health Investment led the round and was joined by investors including Sequoia Capital China, Alwin Capital and Kunlun Capital.

- Snapdocs, a San Francisco-based real estate startup, raised $60 million in funding. YC Continuity led the round and was joined by investors including Docusign and Lachy Groom. Read more.

- deepwatch, a Washington, D.C.-based cybersecurity startup, raised $53 million in Series B funding. Goldman Sachs led the round and was joined by investors including ABS Capital Partners.

- NinjaCat, a New York-based maker of a platform to track, store, report, monitor, and analyze marketing performance data, raised $26 million in Series A funding from Clovis Point Capital.

- Spendesk, a Paris-based spend management platform for small to medium sized businesses, raised $18 million in funding. Eight Roads Ventures led the round.

- Qatalog, a London-based developer of a tool to combine a company’s existing apps, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Atomico led the round and was joined by investors including Salesforce Ventures, Jacob de Geer (co-founder of iZettle), Chris Hitchen (partner at Inventures), and Thijn Lamers (former EVP at Adyen). Read more.

- Yotascale­­, a San Francisco-based cloud cost management software maker, raised $13 million in Series B funding. Felicis Ventures' Aydin Senkut led the round and was joined by investors including Crosslink Capital, Pelion Ventures, and Engineering Capital.

- Cyberpion, a Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity startup, raised an $8.3 million in seed funding. Team8 Capital and Hyperwise Ventures co-led the round. 

- Navina, a Tel Aviv-based developer of a platform for primary care utilizing A.I., raised $7 million in seed funding. Grove Ventures led the round.

- Claravine, a Lehi, Ut.-based technology platform for standardizing marketing data across every team, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Grayhawk Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Next Frontier Capital and Peninsula Ventures.

- Moment House, a ticketed digital live experiences platform connecting fans with artists, raised $1.5 million in seed funding.  Forerunner Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Scooter Braun, Jared Leto, Troy Carter, and Palm Tree Crew (Kygo and Myles Shear).

- Rise Gardens, a Chicago-based maker of in-home, smart hydroponic garden systems, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the Amazon Alexa Fund.


- Gallatin Point Capital acquired FIFS Holdings Corp, a Houston-based company offering auto financing. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Paladina Health, backed by NEA and Oak HC/FT,  agreed to acquire Healthstat, a Charlotte, N.C.-based provider of onsite, near-site, shared and virtual employer-sponsored health centers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Huya Inc (NYSE: HUYA) agreed to acquire DouYu International Holdings (NASDAQ: DOYU), in an all-stock transaction valued the company at about $6 billion.


- Ardian acquired a 50% stake in ANGUS Chemical Company, a Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based maker of nitroalkanes and their derivatives, from Golden Gate Capital at a total enterprise value of approximately $2.3 billion. Golden Gate Capital will retain a 50% stake in ANGUS. 

- Helios Technologies agreed to acquire Balboa Water Group, a maker of bath and spa products, from AEA Investors for $218.5 million.


- Roblox Corp., the U.S. gaming company, filed confidentially for an IPO. 


- John Henry, the owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, is in talks to take his holding company public via merger with blank-check firm RedBall Acquisition Corp., per Bloomberg. Read more.


- David Roux, a co-founder of Silver Lake, and Anjan Mukherjee, a former Blackstone Group executive, plan to raise a private equity fund together, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Levine Leichtman Capital Partners closed Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Europe II with €463 million in commitments.

- Long Ridge Equity Partners closed its third fund with $400 million of commitments from LPs.


- Downing Ventures appointed Warren Rogers, a former venture partner at Airbus, as a partner.

- Värde Partners, promoted Jon Fox to president and Andy Lenk to Deputy CEO.